Well, hello there, boys and girls. It's me, your vet on the edge.
This post is just a little update, not a story, because lately, I've been toeing a different edge entirely than my usual ones. I don't know what I was thinking, but I decided to get a bad case of the flu. Maybe I was getting bored, or I just didn't have enough to do for a week or so. Possibly I was in danger of not spending more money than I make this month. Or it could be that I needed a new hobby, and vomiting into a shopping bag while at the same time having cardiac arrythmias seemed like just the challenge I was looking for? It's hard to say. However, regardless of the incentive, I did in fact end up with an extra bill, a change of routine (tracking my ever-rising body temp, aching, and getting up every one minute to go to the bathroom), and a new appreciation for why people actually die of the flu. (Did I get my flu shot this year? Why no; no, I didn't. Why do you ask?)
At the hospital they always ask you at check-in how you're feeling. They show you the little pain faces and ask you to pick one to describe your level of pain. I picked 5: not so hot, but not like you're having one of your limbs gnawed off by a rabid coyote. But then I had a disturbing thought: This is pain reporting from the self-same person who showed up at the hospital after having raging appendicitis for three days. That pretty much felt like someone had stabbed a 10-inch long, white-hot knife into my lower right abdomen and started stirring my guts around. But did I go to the hospital? No. Instead I thought: I'll be better tomorrow, and then went to the bathroom bent over at a 90-degree angle, projectile vomited some more, and shuffled back to bed bent over in the same 90-degree angle.
For three days.
The PA I saw for that (once I finally DID turn up at the hospital) said to me, "No one moseys in to the hospital after three days of appendicitis. NO ONE. You're what we like to call 'stoic'." He said this in tones that made it sound like the worst insult imaginable.
In view of this recollection, I thought: maybe my pain perception isn't quite standard. I'd better be more descriptive next time. So when the nurse asked me how I was feeling, I told her, "My spine is a steel chain heated to incandescence." The nurse started lauging.
Hm. Maybe that was a little too desciptive.
"I'm sorry," she gasped after a minute. "I know it's not funny that you feel that miserable. It's just a really good description."
Well, okay. At least they know that for me "five" isn't the same level of pain as (for instance) finding out that you've already seen this movie you just rented and now you're kind of bored, plus a little annoyed you paid $3.00 for the rental.
It's all been rather exciting, what with the trips to the hospital and the collapsing at the release desk and the wheelchairs and IV fluids and all that. I will mention that Tamiflu is worth its weight in gold (and evidently that's what it's made of, based on the cost.) IV fluids are also my friend, but for some reason it is the apple juice which finally made me feel like I was catching up on the hydration. Go figure. (Okay, who else now has an annoying apple juice jingle bouncing through their head? Anyone? Show of hands.)
The really really most excellent thing about this, however, has been having it borne in on me, yet again, how lucky, lucky, lucky I am in my friends. They are the coolest people EVER. I don't have help on a day-to-day basis, but that's generally just fine. Typically I can manage without any extra hands. Not this time. But all I had to do was ask, and they jumped right up and stepped in to take care of me. And as it turns out, there were others - quite a few others, actually - who volunteered to do the same.
So, thanks, guys, for bailling me out (or being willing to) when I crashed. You know who you are. I won't forget it.
Meanwhile I can stand up for a really long time now - minutes on end, I tell you! - And I no longer have a fever.
Funniest commentary on that:
Me: My temp went up to 102.3.
Me: hee hee hee hee hee!
Moreover, I am nearly 100% capable of walking without falling down, and my equilibrium trouble has downgraded from Tilt-a-Whirl to just Tilt. Having just had pneumonia in January, you'd think all the practice I got coughing would have produced something more impressive on this go-round, but you'd be wrong. It's not a bad cough, really, but nothing like as spectacular as the January version. But alas, we can't have everything.
So, thanks to my friends who came and rescued me, and thanks to the others who would have done the same. Oh, and thanks to apple juice and graham crackers and the wonders of modern medicine and tamiflu and IV fluids, and that nurse who hit my roly little dehydrated vein on the first stick: I feel better now.